Many people may think smartphone apps are the best way to help them do almost everything in their lives. But after lots of research, we came to the conclusion an "app for that" really isn't practical for the problems we were trying to solve in managing the details of your wardrobe. Here's why:
We tried typing notes into a standard "Notes" app that most phones include for free, but fumbling with a phone to type notes into an electronic notepad – and even trying to find and read them – was too cumbersome and time-consuming, especially while you try to simultaneously browse through the clothes in your closet.
We also tried using some smartphone applications designed to help people manage their wardrobe. The idea of displaying a photo of each clothing item seems like it would be cool, but the fact you have to TAKE a photo of each article of clothing is kind of a pain.
Also, not to get too technical, but we haven't found an app yet that offers a "one-to-many" or "relational" connection between a photo and many entries associated with that photo (which is important to record the dates you've worn and cleaned your clothes). The reason may be because it might be quite a technical challenge to have a sophisticated relational database like this running in a smartphone.
We also read the reviews of the "non-relational" wardrobe apps that exist (as rudimentary as they are), and many reviewers of these apps complained the apps would crash, possibly because storing lots of photos with notes on each article of clothing can exceed the system resources of a phone. These crashes are not only inconvenient and frustrating, but they corrupt all the work the users put into storing photos and notes.
In essence, we believe that some solutions can be “over-engineered” and become too complicated -- and thus untrustworthy -- for its own good. Lori Grenier, an inventor and entrepreneur who is a "shark" on the TV show Shark Tank, commented about this during an episode that featured a card-based fitness program called "FitDeck." Grenier said, “I like the simplicity of the card because sometimes I think we get too device-y.” Checkout the 6-second video clip below where Geneir says this.
We’re big app users in our daily lives, but for the purposes of keeping notes about clothes, it's just not the right fit. There had to be a better way!
So we tried to use some home-grown solutions. We used a notebook that we’d keep in the closet near our clothes, but just the fact the notes weren’t right ON the clothes still made it inconvenient to use. You have to flip through the pages of the notebook to find your notes, and then you have to look back-and-forth between your clothes and the notes. This quickly became a hassle.
There’s something unique about the process of deciding what you’re going to wear. Most people do this in their closet as they look at all of their clothes in front of them, and frequently touch their clothes to see if it “feels” like it would be something they’d want to wear that day.
Just like a smartphone, fiddling with a notebook while going through your clothes can be a pain.
We then tried to use “sticky” notes by sticking them on the hanger. After all, we use paper and pen (or pencil) to jot down notes on sticky notes for other purposes, so why not try it on hangers? We also tried sheets of paper by punching the hanger necks through them. Tacky, but worth a shot.
But sticking paper on hangers didn’t work very well: they weren't easy to write on, and very quickly they'd fall to the floor or start ripping. They also just looked plain awful since all the loose paper made the closet more "cluttery."
That’s when we decided to design a solution that would include an attractive holder that could hang on just about any hanger, a notebook that could easily be removed from the holder, and a conveniently-placed pencil.
After many iterations, we came up with a design that wouldn’t be too expensive and would have a nice-looking notebook that allows for over 100 entries.
We’ve also put our notepad design on standard 3x5” sheets of paper so that if someone wanted to come up with their own design for the notebook pages, they could do that without too much trouble.